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Saturday, 12 October 2013

Reflection/Homily: Twenty-Eight (28th) Sunday in Ordinary Time of the Year C (13th Oct. 2013)



Reflection/Homily: Twenty-Eight (28th) Sunday in Ordinary Time of the Year C (13th Oct. 2013)
Theme: The Church, the Sacraments of Healing and the Power of Gratitude

Every act of healing is an opportunity God uses to reveal Himself to humanity. In most cases, He intervenes with ordinary words and actions which produce extraordinary effects. The story of Naaman’s healing through the Prophet Elisha in the first reading (2 Kings 5:14-17) explains this better. Naaman, a foreigner was made to believe in the God of Israel not through a rational knowledge of God (theology) which he was taught but through an experiential knowledge of the healing power of God. The story of Naaman represents the various stories of our encounter with God in our quest for healing, whether spiritual or physical. We often run helter-skelter, ready to explore all available options in desperate need of one favour or the other. But most often, we do not return like Naaman to give thanks to God.

In the Gospel reading (Luke 17:11-19), Jesus asks “were not all ten healed? Where are the other nine?” Through this, he expresses the fact that God actually looks forward to receiving our gratitude for favours received. Like Naaman, the leper mentioned in the gospel reading did not only express his gratitude with words, he went further to express a deeper level of conviction in Jesus. Trying to find ourselves represented in the characters presented to us, where do we fall? Are we represented in Naaman and the Samaritan leper who returned to give thanks or are we represented in the “other nine” who perhaps thought Jesus was simply doing what he is known for?


In our quest for healing, we find the Church as a sacred institution instituted by Christ to advance his healing ministry on earth. When we regard the Church as a healing ministry, our idea should go beyond an exaggerated enthusiasm for physical healing from ailments. The characters in the readings suffered from leprosy in their skins but we are currently suffering from leprosy in our souls, which is sin. The Church offers us the opportunity to encounter the Living Water and the Eternal Priest through whose ministry in the Church we are healed and cleansed of sin. Naaman, the official from a distant land could represent that sinner who has wandered far away from God. The river Jordan could represent the Church, the seven times bath could represent the seven sacraments and Elisha could represent the ministers of the Church.

In the seven sacraments, Christ offers us the means to complete recovery from our captivity of sin and death. Most of us have been carrying infectious sins around, some are conscious of this while others are not. Every contact with the Church is an opportunity to humble ourselves and request for healing. Like Naaman whose healing was assured when he washed seven times in the river, our healing could be assured if we decide to queue up at the confessional ready to confess our sins. It could be assured if we decide to enroll and be prepared for the sacrament. It could be assured the moment we genuine prepare for mass or receive the Holy Eucharist. What do you think God requires you to do in other to fully encounter Him in the Church?

The moment we realize our need for healing and the great healing God gives us in the Church through the prayers we recite, the liturgies we celebrate and the sacraments we receive, then we become convinced of our need to constantly give Him thanks. Our gratitude should not be restricted to material offerings alone but should also include the offering of our total commitment to Jesus as Lord. Let us not forget to constantly express our gratitude before God for as the second reading (2 Timothy 2:18-13) says, we may be unfaithful, but God is always faithful for He cannot deny Himself.

Therefore, today is an opportunity not only to ask God to heal our sinfulness but also to know how thankful we have been to God for the numerous favours He has already granted us. Today is an opportunity to say Thank You to God for the priest that baptized us, the person(s) that prepared us for the Holy Eucharist, the priest(s) that hear our confessions, the priest(s) that celebrate(s) the sacraments for us. Today is also an opportunity to thank God for our parents, benefactors, teachers, all those whose lives made us better and for the great opportunities and talents we have utilized. May today’s Sunday be that of gratitude for us and may the power of our gratitude fetch us more spiritual and temporal favours. Happy Sunday. God loves you.

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